For people living with chronic illness, wellness takes on a deeper meaning. It goes beyond whipping up a breakfast smoothie and going for a morning jog. It means paying attention to your physical and mental health; knowing when to push, when to rest, and when to be forgiving or carve out time for self-care. It’s also important to acknowledge that this definition can change day by day for so many living with chronic pain — for example, depending on whether you’re flaring or dealing with fatigue.
In one of our recent #CreakyChats, titled “Wellness, Chronic Illness, and Disability: A Candid #CreakyChats,” we asked our community along with special guests Dr. Leonard Calebrese, DO, Cleveland Clinic, and Lauren Scholl, Personal Trainer and Psoriatic Arthritis Patient Advocate: What does wellness mean to you?
Read on — and think about which definition makes most sense for you.
Self-Love, Self-Care, Self Compassion
“Do what your body needs and discard the rest. Reach out for help and throw the celery juice, yoga, supplements, and unsolicited BS out the window if it doesn’t serve you. Disability requires you to be selfish and that’s okay.” — @AlexisSMobley
“Wellness for me is simply feeling in control. I have to [practice] self-care by prioritizing and pacing. Even on really bad days this helps.” — @Catheri58232231
“Wellness is when I don’t hate myself or my existence. I’m working on learning to love my body by treating her as her own person so I can be more compassionate to the needs of my body.” — @musical_zombies
“I think of wellness as a sort of calm, of body and mind. It doesn’t mean we’re problem-free, but we’re managing.” — @buttahflyk
Striking the Right Balance
“Wellness to me is living as healthy as possible considering circumstances. Some of my go-to practices involve getting enough rest, having a “lazy” day, making sure to have a little fun and laughter, fresh air, eating/drinking for maximum nutrition, exercise.” — @NetertAsetRe
“Wellness to me is being able to invest in my relationships and have enough energy to spend time doing things I find fulfilling. For me, wellness is NOT productivity.” — @thecakelin
Health and Happiness
“Wellness for me is a measure of overall health (physical, mental, and emotional). I think of each category as a ‘bucket’ I try to fill.” — @shapedbyscholl
“For me, wellness means all-encompassing (body, mind, heart, soul) dedication to caring for oneself, each other, and our planet. It’s an authentic pursuit, and very individual…however we all need support to even come close to it.” — @ZenMeoww
“I guess I would say [wellness is] being able to engage in your day-to-day activities and hobbies with little interference from the body, but definitely being able to enjoy them.” — @jgchayko
Listening to Your Body
“I don’t define wellness. It’s just not a concept I can wrap my head around anymore. It’s been too long. I just try to do the best I can, day by day and minute by minute. Spend my spoons wisely and get by when I’m out.” — @hataroni
“Wellness is how well I listen to my body. If I need to rest I rest. I love my heat pad and massagers. I also drink three liters of water a day and try to get my 10K steps in a day. I keep my diet strict. I love to indulge in my favorite things when needed.” — @MichaelKuluva
Join Our Monthly #CreakyChats
Our monthly, patient-driven Twitter discussion, #CreakyChats, explores topics that are important to the chronic disease community. During a one-hour moderated chat, we provide a space for people to discuss pressing issues facing the arthritis/chronic disease community. You don’t need to be a Twitter pro to join.
During #CreakyChats we encourage everyone to share their strengths, challenges, and experiences — that is how we can help and support people as they navigate life with chronic disease.